Grafton Ghosts head trainer and strapper Kerry Godwin is surprised how few serious injuries occur in rugby league.
Grafton Ghosts head trainer and strapper Kerry Godwin is surprised how few serious injuries occur in rugby league. JoJo Newby

Plenty of hard knocks, few strikes

WARNING bells are starting to ring about the dangers footy can have on your mind and last night's Four Corners report was unsettling viewing for any parents of young footballers.

Hard Knocks was a Quentin Dempster report aired last night on Four Corners which drew parallels between alarming brain injury research from gridiron in the United States and the football codes played Down Under.

One man who has seen a few hard knocks is Grafton Ghosts life member and head trainer Kerry Godwin, who joined the sidelines for the team in 1977.

Despite his long history strapping up on-field injuries, he cannot think of any major head injuries or anyone suffering long-term impacts of head injuries.

"It's surprising in rugby league, a tough contact sport, it is not often you come across serious injuries," he said.

"You will be sitting on the sidelines and you'll hear a big whack and a mass of tangled bodies go down and they all seem to get up."

In his experience in the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League, coaches have never disputed his calls for players to be taken off the field or sent to hospital after a head injury.

"They don't want a player on the field who's not able to perform properly."

Players keen to avenge a wrong or keep playing when concussed are more the problem.

"People don't realise they are suffering from concussion and can be aggressive, when they aren't normally. It can be very difficult to stop them going back out and I've had players push me away."

He then calls out the big guns - the players' womenfolk - when he can't make a concussed player listen to reason.

"I'll get someone from their family; a mother, a girlfriend to talk some sense into them and they seem to listen."

One of the leading neurosurgeons interviewed by Four Corners recommended a "three strikes and you're out" (for life) policy on concussions.

 

On TV

'Hard Knocks' will be repeated today at 11.35pm on ABC1, on ABC News 24 Saturday at 8pm.



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